Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell explained the faculty line reductions happening; “12 departments are going to be affected and 15 lines will be reduced.” She and Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Ockle Johnson did an analysis of the departments which started three years ago, and they received a report in February of 2020. This means that these line reductions were not a result of COVID-19 and were not affected by it either.
As Treadwell stated, “15 lines will be reduced, however, it is likely that there will be no retrenchment which would have been a hard thing to do because we would have to look at individuals and decide.” Retrenchment would be the school having to pick individuals from the faculty lines to fire.
The college released a voluntary retirement plan so that faculty in these departments who choose to retire can fulfill the need to reduce the faculty line. They are receiving enough applicants to hopefully fulfill this cut. The application deadline for the retirement incentive program is due October 15.
Marie Duggan, professor of economics, shared economics, political science, mathematics, biology, history and English departments are all being impacted. “There was a consulting group that came in last year and they decided to cut three million dollars,” said Duggan.
Treadwell clarified that none of the pre-existing programs will be eliminated due to this faculty line reductions.
Johnson talked about the mathematics reductions in the number of 10-year track faculty. Johnson explained that, “There is a reduction of students/reduction in revenue there has been a decrease in staff and faculty for the past few years, but the reductions have not been sufficient enough to balance the budget.”
The student to faculty ratio is supposed to be 9-1, but we currently have a ratio of 13-1. Duggan disagrees with this reduction for a few reasons. “It is difficult to provide exciting courses to students when you’re down a body.” The economics department only has four chairs so it is very small as it is. Now that positions are being taken away, Duggan is nervous about the loss.
Johnson also mentioned that he is saddened to see members of his department and all departments leaving as the KSC faculty are all doing a terrific job delivering education to students.
“They have given years of their lives to support our students and it is unfortunate that we are at a point that we have to reduce the number of faculty and staff throughout the college,” he stated.
The reduction of staff is supposed to be supported by the number of students, so there will remain enough staff to provide a quality program. Given that the number of students has decreased, some changes have to be made. For example, the mathematics department will be offering some classes every other year. This is where advisors will come in to really help students plan their class schedules accordingly so that they can progress toward graduation.
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